Animal Species:Common Stargazer, Kathetostoma laeve (Bloch & Schneider, 1801)

The Common Stargazer can be recognised by its large, squarish head, tapering scaleless body and upward pointing mouth and eyes. It occurs in temperate marine waters in bays, estuaries and near shore areas, often on sandy substrates.

Standard Common Name

Common Stargazer

Alternative Name/s

Banded Stonelifter, Barred Stargazer, Catfish, Eastern Stargazer, Southern Stargazer, Stonelifter

Identification

The Common Stargazer can be recognised by its large, squarish head, tapering scaleless body and upward pointing mouth and eyes. It has a large backward-directed spine just behind the operculum, and large pectoral fins.

The species is usually grey to brown dorsally and white below. The pectoral and caudal fins have white margins and the body often has two dark bands across the back.

Size range

It grows to 75 cm in length.

Distribution

The species occurs in temperate marine waters from southern Queensland to south-western Western Australia, including Tasmania. Fish occurring in south-western Western Australia may be a distinct species.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information.  Source: Atlas of Living Australia.

Kathetostoma laeve

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Common Stargazer specimens in the Australian Museum.

What does this mean?

Habitat

The species lives mostly in bays, estuaries and near shore areas, often on sandy substrates. It can be found down to a depth of 60 m, but may also occur in very shallow water.

Economic/social impacts

Night divers have been bitten by this fish.

Classification

Species:
laeve
Genus:
Kathetostoma
Family:
Uranoscopidae
Order:
Perciformes
Class:
Actinopterygii
Subphylum:
Vertebrata
Phylum:
Chordata
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?

References

  1. Gomon, M.F. in Gomon, M.F, C.J.M. Glover & R.H. Kuiter (Eds). 1994. The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. State Print, Adelaide. Pp. 992.
  2. Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.
  3. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  4. Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-Eastern Australia. Crawford House Press. Pp. 437.
  5. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.


Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags fish, ichthyology, Eastern Stargazer, Kathetostoma laeve, sandy bottom, Uranoscopidae, Common Stargazer, brown, white, odd-shaped, 30 cm - 1 m, no-pattern, soft substrate, marine\, marine, adult, bury, sand,

2 comments

Mark McGrouther - 8.09 AM, 08 September 2010

Hi Derek,  Thank you for your comment.  I appreciate your input.  Telling me that you caught a fish north of the distribution that was previously listed on the page was very useful.  The webpage had been online for quite some time and needed updating.  I have corrected the known distribution (from Hoese et al 2006 - see refs).  Your fish now falls within the distribution of the species.  I have also updated the standard and common names. Thanks again.

Derek Schaef - 6.09 PM, 07 September 2010
Caught and released in the South arm (Simpsons Creek)of the Brunswick Heads River, NSW. 7 September 2010.

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